At noon on December 30, Vice President Chen Chien-jen and his wife hosted a luncheon celebrating the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Palau. The vice president thanked Palau for voicing support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations at international venues and expressed hope that the two countries will continue to maintain close interaction and cooperation.
As hosts, the vice president and his wife greeted and shook hands with Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. and Palauan political leaders at the luncheon venue, Ngarachamayong Cultural Center. He thanked all of the guests for joining in celebrating this important milestone in the diplomatic relationship between Taiwan and Palau.
The following is a translation of the vice president's remarks:
Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of Taiwan-Palau ties. The decision by former President Kuniwo Nakamura to establish formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan 20 years ago was a historic step in our bilateral partnership. For two decades, Palau has been our constant companion, becoming one of Taiwan's most faithful Pacific allies anywhere in the world.
Palau chose to forge diplomatic ties with Taiwan 20 years ago because we have so much in common. We not only share an Austronesian cultural heritage, but also revere values like democracy and freedom, like a brotherhood whose ideals and values are mutually reinforcing. This past September, Taiwan convened the Austronesian Forum Executive Council right here in this cultural center, and set up the Forum Headquarters on the second floor, showing our determination to continue revitalizing Austronesian languages and cultures.
Our countries have always been like brothers, deepening cooperation and mutual support at all levels. We have completed numerous cooperative projects in healthcare, agriculture, education, and infrastructure, with practical benefits for people in both countries. The Taiwan Medical Program, through Shin Kong Hospital, has responded to the healthcare needs of people in Palau with practical assistance so they can receive better care.
In international venues, Palau has also taken concrete action to support Taiwan's participation in international organizations. So on behalf of our government and people, I would like to thank Palau for speaking up at this year's UN General Assembly, urging all countries to recognize the rights of Taiwan's 23 million people. I am sure that this kind of fraternal relationship will continue to deepen and continue to benefit the people in both countries.
Our close bilateral relations are reflected in the frequency of reciprocal visits by high-level officials. President Tsai chose Palau as the first stop during her Oceans of Democracy state visits this past March. In the latter half of this year, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod (夷將．拔路兒) also served as special envoys to lead a delegation to Palau. I am also extremely honored to visit Palau for this momentous occasion.
In closing, I would like to thank President Remengesau and all of Palau's government agencies for their generous and gracious hospitality over the past few days. Although this was my first visit to one of our Pacific allies, your friendliness and warmth have made me feel right at home.
I also want to thank the traditional chiefs—Paramount High Chief Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons, Paramount High Chief Reklai Raphael Ngirmang, Queen Bilung Gloria Salii—representing Palau society, for your long-term assistance and support for Taiwan.
Once again, I would like to thank all of our Palauan friends for your warm hospitality. Let's all raise a toast to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our diplomatic ties and look forward to a lasting friendship between Taiwan and Palau that will continue for many years to come. Mesulang!